On Tuesday, The Washington Post highlighted a new poll showing Obama leading Romney among registered voters 51 to 44 percent. But before we break that down, alongside the poll story is this odd-sounding advice from the Post's Chris Cillizza. He seems to believe Romney should sit down with the national media because that's where Republicans go for a "positive first introduction."
"Romney needs a big megaphone to make sure general election voters who don’t know anything about him get a positive first introduction." What? "And only the national media can provide that megaphone and serve as a sort of validator for him." Predictably, he also counsels "find somewhere to break with conservatives."
In the poll story, Dan Balz and Jon Cohen count the ways Obama is winning big:
Obama has double-digit leads over the likely Republican presidential nominee on who would do a better job of protecting the middle class, addressing women’s issues, handling international affairs and dealing with health care.
On personal traits, the president’s edge is even bigger: He has a better than 2-to-1 advantage as the more friendly and likable of the two, and nearly that margin as “more inspiring.”
Could that be helped by all the free media that the liberal networks are handing him and his wife?
Romney only looks good on the economy, they found: "Despite positive economic indicators, Americans remain deeply pessimistic about the overall direction of the country and largely consider the economy still mired in a recession...Romney holds a double-digit lead over Obama onjust one issue tested in the poll who would better deal with the federal budget deficit."
The bad news for Obama on gas prices you could find....in paragraph 19. "The cost of gas continues to sting: More than six in 10 call rising pump prices a financial hardship, with a similar proportion disapproving of how Obama is handling the matter. Although fewer blame the Obama administration for gas prices than single out U.S. oil companies or other oil-producing countries, the issue adds to Romney’s opening to mount an economic challenge to Obama in the fall campaign."
The sample has 34 percent Democrats, 23 percent Republicans, and 34 percent independents. (That is not in the news story.) One could also see the sample tilt when they asked which was the bigger problem "unfairness in the economic system that favors the wealthy" or "overregulation of the free market that interferes with growth or prosperity." The liberal-conservative gap there was 52 to 37 percent.